Airbnb Plus gives users the option to book hotel-quality accommodation

Posted February 23, 2018

The new "Plus" program unveiled Thursday initially will only cover about 2,000 homes in 13 cities.

"Airbnb was designed for when we were much smaller", said the company's CEO, Brian Chesky, on stage at a packed event space in the Nob Hill area of San Francisco on Thursday.

Hoteliers and B&Bs have always been listing their rooms on the platform, but the company is adding extra search categories for users who are not looking to rent someone's home or room.

Following last year's acquisition of Luxury Retreats, Airbnb today previews a new standard in travel - Beyond by Airbnb. You might find several rental units in the same building, or of the same configuration, all by the same host. that's nearly like a kind of faux hotel system, but this will offer an opportunity for Airbnb hosts to differentiate themselves for users that are looking for something more specific. Going ahead it will add four new categories- vacation home, unique space, B&B and boutique, making it a full- service travel company competing with the likes of Booking.com, Expedia.com etc.

Meanwhile, Airbnb now organizes rentals into three categories: Shared Space, Private Room, and Entire Home. The new category was announced today, as an option for travelers looking both for a more unique place to stay and more confidence that what they'll turn up to when they arrive will be as promised in the listing. In San Francisco, for example, after initially fighting city officials, Airbnb in May agreed to kick hosts off the platform if they didn't register with the city - a practice the company put into place at the beginning of this year. This will give greater choice of accommodation options to guests, provide greater transparency over the types of accommodation available, and help hosts better showcase what's unique about them to better match with guests' preferences.

"We are creating the world's largest home database", said Chesky. Launching today are Airbnb for Family and Airbnb for Work with Collections for Social stays, Weddings, Honeymoons, Group getaways and Dinner parties coming later this year. Following the acquisition of Luxury Retreats a year ago, Beyond by Airbnb will offer custom-designed trips that include "the world's finest homes, custom experiences and world-class hospitality", said Airbnb. "But we want to go further by supporting and expanding our community so that in 10 years time, more than 1 billion people per year will experience the benefits of magical travel on Airbnb".

It will offer high-end properties, including optional concierge services, when it launches in spring. There, in a bold move that signaled Airbnb was no longer threatening just hotels, but had shifted its target to the entire travel industry, Chesky explained how travelers can use the Airbnb platform to book exotic activities not found in any guidebook. The Superguest trial launches with 10,000 people this summer before being rolled out to all guests later in the year.